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Watson v. Mita

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

October 1, 2017

ELIAS WATSON, Plaintiff,
v.
DAVID MITA, as Police Officer of the City Of Worcester and Individually; STEPHEN PIGNATARO, as Police Officer of the City Of Worcester and Individually; THE CITY OF WORCESTER; KIRSCH LIQUORS, ROBERT KIRSCH; and JOHN BROYLES Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ON DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS TO DISMISS

          TIMOTHY S. HILLMAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Introduction

         Plaintiff Elias Watson (“Plaintiff” or “Watson”) filed a multi-count complaint alleging various federal and state civil rights violations and common law tort claims against Defendants David Mita and Stephen Pignataro, Police Officers for the City of Worcester, the City of Worcester (collectively, “the City Defendants”), Kirsch Liquors, along with store owner Robert Kirsch and store employee John Broyles (collectively, the “Kirsch Defendants”). Defendants move to dismiss all counts in the complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) on numerous grounds, including that the claims fail as a matter of law, are time barred, and/or lack sufficient factual support.

         Plaintiff's Claims are as follows:

Count I - Violation of Federal Civil Rights - 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendants Mita, Pignataro and City of Worcester (Excessive Force and Unreasonable Seizure - Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment);
Count II - Violation of Federal Civil Rights - 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendants Mita, Pignataro and City of Worcester (Failure to Intervene and/or Report Misconduct - Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment);
Count III - Violation of Massachusetts Civil Rights Act (G. L. c. 12, §§ 11H -I) against Defendants Mita, Pignataro and City of Worcester;
Count IV - Violation of Federal Civil Rights - 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendant City of Worcester (Monell/Supervisory Liability);
Count V - Assault and Battery against Defendants Broyles, Kirsch Liquors, Robert Kirsch, Mita and Pignataro;
Count VI - Abuse of Process against All Defendants;
Count VII - Violations of Federal and State Civil Rights - 42 U.S.C. § 1983 - Malicious Prosecution against All Defendants;
Count VIII - Fraud, Misrepresentation, and Deceit against Defendants Broyles, Mita and Pignataro;

         Relevant Facts

         On the evening of March 9, 2013, at approximately 8:00 p.m, Plaintiff visited Kirsch Liquors located at 646 Main Street in Worcester, Massachusetts. Sometime thereafter, Worcester police officers Stephen Pignataro and David Mita were dispatched to Kirsch Liquors for a disturbance or fight involving the Plaintiff and an employee of Kirsch Liquors. Prior to the arrival of the Officer Pignataro and Mita, Plaintiff was in the store, arguing with Defendant Broyles, a Kirsch employee. See Exhibit 1 to City Defendants' Memorandum, Kirsch Liquor store surveillance (hereinafter, “Ex. 1”).[1] In the surveillance footage, Broyles can be heard asking Plaintiff to leave the store. (Ex. 1 and Complaint, ¶ 33). Plaintiff yelled and swore at Broyles in the store, stating “I wish one of y'all will touch me and I will show you a knife.” (Ex. 1) Plaintiff then challenged Broyles to “F*** with me.” (Ex. 1). A female employee of Kirsch can be observed on the phone speaking with Worcester Police Department emergency dispatch. (Ex. 1). Plaintiff then approached the counter, and continued to argue with Broyles. (Ex. 1).

         Plaintiff was pushed to the ground by Broyles. (Ex. 1). He got back on his feet, refused to leave the store, engaged in arguments with other patrons of the store, while continuing to yell at Broyles. (Ex. 1 and Complaint, ¶¶ 36 and 37). Specifically, Plaintiff stated to Broyles, “you f***ed with the wrong person, ” “I am coming back, ” “I will be your worst nightmare, ” “I will beat your f***ing punk a**, ” and “I have a son and he will murder him.” (Ex. 1). At about this time, Officer Pignataro entered the store and observed the Plaintiff's behavior. (Ex. 1 and see Exhibit 2 to City Defendants' Memorandum, WPD Incident Report of Officer David Mita, Exhibit 2, hereinafter “Ex. 2”). Officer Pignataro approached the Plaintiff and advised him to calm down. (Ex. 1). The Plaintiff then advanced toward Officer Pignataro and stated that he had a ...


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